A NOTE ON ANONYMITY
I fully intended for this blog to be anonymous. I felt anonymity would give this blog a more authoritative, professional business presence, especially since I planned to discuss finances. However, this blog is first and foremost for me. As the blog is a creative endeavor before a business venture, I also want to use it as my travel journal.
I have always wanted to record my travels, but I had never found a good format or system. When I started the blog, I realized I had created a way to combine my narrative travel experiences with photography. The only issue: some of the pictures have me in them.
I am an admittedly private person despite starting a blog. Social media is something I rarely use. I actually find the current trend towards narcissism quite exhausting…And I am acutely aware of the irony of that statement and my decision to start a blog.
I will also admit I am lazy. I do not like the idea of the effort behind trying to conceal my image. The whole charade seems excessively…trite. I think having the pen name of MissSaraBee is corny enough for a site whose image and name is derived from a bumble bee.
INSPIRATION BEHIND THE 50 STATE TRAVEL JOURNAL
My mother started taking me on vacations when I was in grade school. We were (and are) not rich. I had school, and she had limited time off. Add in the expected temperament a young child, and she was limited in her options.
I remember traveling all over the Midwest. We would camp with an old, metal piping tent that took ages to put together. We would eat hot dogs warmed over a fire. When we did stay in a hotel, it would be at a cheap location that was little more than a room with a bed(/torture device) and a bathroom(/home for spiders).
I know we visited Missouri, Ohio, Minnesota, and South Dakota to name a few states, but I do not remember much. What I do remember are great memories…such as staring at a campfire under the stars, seeing Mount Rushmore, and going up into Gateway Arch in St. Louis. It wasn’t until later that my mother revealed to me that her goal was to visit all 50 states in the United States of America.
When my mother received a deal to go to Disney World in Florida, she jumped at the chance to check another state off her list. She also wanted to take me when I was still young enough to appreciate the “magic” of the iconic vacation destination. Me, my mother, my grandmother, and my grandfather took a Greyhound to Florida, and spent the following days going to every Disney park we could. I loved the parks, but I think my grandmother (who hadn’t been outside of her home state much) loved them even more. My grandmother ended up convincing my mother to go again.
My mother told herself that she could count states she had driven through in her 50 state checklist, and she continued to receive deals from Disney. We went again…and again…for four years in a row.
THE INTERRUPTION OF HIGHER EDUCATION
Then my education started to turn towards high school. In my family, school is considered your first job. High school was the stepping stone to college, college was the stepping stone to a career, and a career was the stepping stone to the rest of your life. Once I entered high school, it would become difficult to go on vacation. Not only from a scheduling standpoint, but from a budgeting standpoint. My mother would usually take me out of school for a few days during the school year for travel. I was clever enough to handle the extended absence, and we saved by traveling during the off-season.
My mother and I wanted one more vacation together, so we took one more mega-vacation to Massachusetts and New York. Then I stopped traveling to focus on my education. All through high school and college, I did not have time off.
I am very aware of my privilege. Being able to travel at all is a great gift, and I appreciate that I was fortunate enough to be born into such a position.
Still, once you have experienced something, you become very aware when that experience leaves your life. Especially after nearly a decade without a day off.
As I have become more educated, and I have seen my peers go on their own adventures, my dreams of travel have grown. Now, I have adopted my mother’s goal, and I hope to one day visit all 50 states. Now that my education is done and I have earned a job where I receive paid time off, these dreams finally have a possibility of becoming reality.
WHAT IS THE TRAVEL JOURNAL?
The Travel Journal is my personal account of all the locations I have visited since I have become a full-time employee, also known as an “official adult.” My hope is to visit all 50 states in the United State of America. In order to count a state as “visited,” it must meet the following criteria:
- Driving through a location does not count. You must “visit” the state.
- Visiting a state includes participating in a minimum of 1 typical activity for the state. For example, in South Dakota seeing Mount Rushmore would be considered seeing South Dakota. Ideally you want to spend more time and see more (especially for more complex states like California), but for the sake of simplicity I will stick to the simple 1 activity-1 state rule.
- I must have visited the state after I became a full-time employee. There were a handful of states I visited in my childhood, but I hope to revisit them. I remember some things, but I know those memories are skewed by childhood. I would like to see them again with the mindset of an adult.
- My home state cannot be counted until I have visited an area outside of where I live. For simplicity sake, we’ll count this as a minimum of a 50 mile radius outside of where I live.
So far, I have added Nevada, Louisiana, and Michigan to my list of states visited. I already have more vacations planned, and even more added to my wish list. May the adventures begin!
How many states in the U.S.A. have you visited? What was your favorite state so far? Any recommendations for what I should visit? Let me know in the comments!